Why I hate religion, but Love Jesus.
The Jesus vs Religion debate could go on longer than Peter Jackson’s extended cut of Lord of the Rings. It’s easy to say that Christianity isn’t a religion it’s a relationship. But tell your mates at the footy club this and you’ll more than likely receive a raised eyebrow and a changed subject. So let’s have a quick look, and I mean a really quick look, by asking what religion is. If you ask most people, you’ll get an answer along the lines of…
a series of practices that are followed to please a deity and achieve spiritual enlightenment.
If you look at this loose definition you can see some parallels between many of the practices set up by God through Moses in the Old Testament. So if doing “religious” stuff (as appointed by God’s Word) isn’t inherently wrong, I guess the real guts of the Jesus vs Religion discussion comes down to where you are coming from.
I find that when Jesus talks of doing “religious” stuff he asks us where our heart is in the matter. I think the best illustration is Jesus’ own parable of the two men in the temple in Luke 18:10-14. Both men were doing the same thing. Both were in the temple and both were praying to God. But Jesus points out that they were coming from two very different places. Have a read for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
So according to Jesus it’s not the stuff we do so much but rather where our heart is. And when our heart is in the right place, the stuff we do as a result is pleasing to God. What a lovely little circle.
The problem with religion, and it has been this way for millennia, is that it is back-to-front and begins with the doing of the stuff, and never really transfers to the heart. A passage that reinforces this is James 1:21-27 where James clearly shows us that we are kidding ourselves when we think we can simply get by with going through the religious motions.
This film, using one mans personal testimony and talent in poetry, does a brilliant job of putting this into perspective.
So for me, religion isn’t the real problem, the heart is. I think that this video drives this home. On the surface you may feel like it just gives an excuse not to go to church, but if you listen you’ll find that it is really asking you WHY you go to church.
Is it really Jesus vs Religion, or is it really spirit vs flesh? What do you think? Do you think there is a place in the Kingdom of God for religion?
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